First self-seeded orchid: A garden meadow milestone!

Becca@Lillington
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First self-seeded orchid: A garden meadow milestone!

Post by Becca@Lillington »

This must be a cause for celebration for any new meadow maker! Our small patch of meadow in our garden was created 4 years ago by "yellow rattling" a patch of scratched up lawn. The first year we had ribwort plantain dominating alongside the yellow rattle, this year the cat's ear has spread a lot, which is great to see. Some spotted orchid seedlings appeared last year, and now it has flowered! They look to be common spotted orchid, but could be a heath spotted hybrid (narrow leaves). We are on neutal, slightly acid clay soil, a couple of miles north of Goren Farm in the Blackdowns.
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Robin
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Re: First self-seeded orchid: A garden meadow milestone!

Post by Robin »

Yes, there's nothing more exciting to find in your meadow. I had my first one last year and this year there are nine!
jennymsaunders
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Re: First self-seeded orchid: A garden meadow milestone!

Post by jennymsaunders »

Wow - how wonderful is that. 5 years ago we had one early purple orchid flower...this year we spotted another one - but it is a couple of hundred meters away from the original and on very different ground! There are many in the roadside verges in this area.
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Steve Pollard
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Re: First self-seeded orchid: A garden meadow milestone!

Post by Steve Pollard »

Well done! It could also be a Heath spotted, if you're on slightly acidic soil in the Blackdowns, as Common spotted's favour base-rich soil in lowland areas. I can't see from your photo, but if you look at the three lobes at the bottom of the labellum (the flat petal), the the central one on the CS is often shorter, whereas on the HS they are equal or the central one is longer.
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Re: First self-seeded orchid: A garden meadow milestone!

Post by Alice »

Your story Becca@Lillington sounds very similar to ours: front lawn with yellow rattle - ribwort plantain - catsear and now a couple of common spotted orchids showing up.
We have delayed mowing to give the orchids time to seed - their seed pods have been green but are starting to go brown now. When do people think is the best time to mow?
thanks for your advice!
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Steve Pollard
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Re: First self-seeded orchid: A garden meadow milestone!

Post by Steve Pollard »

Alice - you have a few options depending on if you know where the orchid spikes are -
If you don't know where they all are, they'll turn brown and crispy, the pods will begin to burst open and the seed will be wind dispersed. Once the pods are empty, wait for a good rain, as this will wash the seeds down into the soil. You can then cut and collect the grass.
If your garden is small and you know where the spikes are, you can either mow around them, so that they can seed naturally or you can pick the the spikes once they are brown, then cut and collect your lawn, then afterwards scatter the seeds from the spikes over your lawn, bearing in mind the wind direction.

BTW, are you sure they haven't seeded already - Common spotted usually seed in August?
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Re: First self-seeded orchid: A garden meadow milestone!

Post by Alice »

Thank you Steve - that's very useful! They most likely have already seeded then if they normally do it in August. Yes, it's a small area and we know where the orchids are: we've cut down most of the rest of the meadow. We've had plenty of rain now so we'll cut down the rest.
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